Is L.A. Pensions Chief Hiding Pension Costs for City Hall Politicians?

#See clarification below.

During the reporting of the widely read L.A. Weekly cover story, "Antonio Villaraigosa's Quest for Wall Street, Washington and Wealth," Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System (LACERS) chief Thomas Moutes refused* to tell the paper what kind of big bucks taxpayers will be shelling out for Villaraigosa's pension, although that's public information.

#Moutes recently pulled a similar routine with But longtime City Hall reporter Rick Orlov of the Los Angeles Daily News managed to figure out Villaraigosa's and other city officials' pensions on his own. Orlov went back to LACERS to confirm his numbers were accurate, but Moutes and his gang refused to do even that little bit of work for the public's benefit.

What's going on over at LACERS?

Do City Hall politicians such as Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti, City Council President Herb Wesson, City Councilman and Personnel Committee Chairman Paul Koretz, and City Controller-elect Ron Galperin even care that Moutes flat out refuses to give information about how taxpayer monies are being spent?

Garcetti and Galperin talked a lot about being on the side of regular folks during their campaigns. Well, here's their first test. They should quickly usher in a new, enlightened age of transparency at LACERS -- post haste.

We're talking about millions and millions of dollars in taxpayers' money going towards the pension costs of City Hall politicians such as Villaraigosa, Dennis Zine, and numerous others -- including Garcetti, Galperin, Wesson, and Koretz some day.

Taxpayers clearly have a right to know exactly how much they are footing the bill.

Orlov, for example, found out that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be eligible to receive a pension of $122,489 a year, Councilman Richard Alarcon will get $115,855 annually, Councilwoman Jan Perry will receive $84,098, and Councilman Dennis Zine will get nearly $150,000.

All the calculations come out a little different based on time of service on the city and state levels, but counted over time, that adds up to some serious, multi-million-dollar money.

LACERS' Thomas Moutes needs tell the public what he knows, and Garcetti and gang should make sure he does that.

* Through a spokeswoman, Moutes said LACERS has "no records" regarding this public information, refused to answer a simple question of when Villaraigosa's pension payments would kick in, and what kind of health benefits the mayor would receive as part of his pension package.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Patrick Range McDonald on Twitter at @PRMcDonald.

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